The earth’s supply of fresh water continues to dwindle, and unless people begin taking action, humankind runs the risk of exhausting our supply. With so much at stake, taking solid steps toward conservation efforts begins in individual homes. We all have a solemn responsibility to protect this precious resource.

Many people today know the importance of carrying a reusable bottle when it comes to reducing plastic waste, but fewer understand how to save water effectively. Here are seven tips you can take today. Some involve making a small upfront investment which pays for itself in reduced bills over time; others cost nothing but mean a lot.

1. Save Your Rinse Water

Washing greens in a colander? Place a pot underneath your colander to catch the rinse water and use this water for your garden or houseplants. Giving the little ones a bath in a partially-filled tub or basin? Do the same — use the leftover water for gardening purposes. Don’t worry about the soap hurting your plants — soap is a natural insecticide, so the runoff will help, not harm, your prize asparagus.


2. Take Showers, Not Baths

Unless you put only an inch of water in the tub (who does that?), showering uses far less water than bathing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), bathing uses approximately 70 gallons of water while showering uses only 10-25, depending on how long you lather up.

Want to go the extra mile to save money while showering? Set a kitchen timer for five minutes, and when it goes off? Time to rinse and towel off.

3. And Shower Less Often

Many of us in the west are in the habit of showering daily no matter what, but this practice is unnecessary unless you are a professional athlete or work in a coal mine. Showering daily strips the skin of essential oils, making it dry and ashy. A good rule of thumb is to shower every other day and lather up only areas heavy in apocrine glands like your armpits and groin twice daily or as needed.

4. Install Low-Flow Devices

If you have the money, investing in low flow devices can help you save up to 75 percent of your water use. To give you an idea of the extent of the problem, only 3 percent of the worlds’ water is fresh and only one-third of that can be accessed by humans.

Low-flow showerheads and faucets cost relatively little, and also can add beauty to your home and increase your property value. Today’s generation of home buyers is more eco-conscious, and energy-saving features are in high demand. An investment of a few hundred dollars could net you thousands more if you decide to sell, not to mention the money you’ll save on your water bill each month.

5. Invest in Water-Saving Appliances

Have slightly deeper pocketbooks? Consider investing in updated appliances, especially if your dishwasher or washing machine is over 10-years old. The dishwashers of yesteryear used twice the water and electricity than their modern counterparts. To save even more money, scrape, not rinse plates before putting them in the machine, and only run the dishwasher when completely full.

6. Rethink Landscaping and Irrigation

For years, lawns reigned supreme on the American suburban landscape, but these cost a fortune in water. Plus, who wants to spend sunny summer afternoons mowing when more eco-friendly and lower-maintenance options exist for landscaping?

Look into xeriscaping, which uses native, drought-resistant plants in landscape design and saves a ton of water. Replace grass with native ground cover which requires little H20 and use decorative rock in sunny areas where few other plants thrive. You’ll save your aching back, reclaim your weekend and save much of one of our most vital resources.

7. Save Rainwater (If Legal)

Depending upon where you live, saving rainwater may be illegal due to mosquito populations. Check with local ordinances, and if it is permitted, invest in a 55-gallon drum to keep outdoors to catch rain when it falls. Use this water for your garden or houseplants.

Protecting Our Freshwater Supply

The world’s supply of fresh water is disappearing, and we all have a duty to do what we can to preserve this vital resource. Implement the tips above to reduce the amount of this water you and your family use in day-to-day life.